Hannis Abreu

Hannis Abreu

Published: 17 Sep 2023

Source: Locationscout.net

The Mafra Palace Library is a stunning architectural masterpiece located in Mafra, Portugal. Known for its impressive collection of manuscripts, books, and works of art, this library holds a rich history that dates back several centuries. As one of the most important cultural landmarks in Portugal, the Mafra Palace Library attracts visitors from around the world who are captivated by its grandeur and fascinating content.

In this article, we will explore 10 fascinating facts about the Mafra Palace Library, shedding light on its magnificent architecture, remarkable collections, and intriguing tales. From the opulence of its design to the secrets hidden within its walls, each fact will unveil a unique aspect of this extraordinary institution. Whether you’re an avid reader, a history enthusiast, or simply curious about remarkable landmarks, join us as we delve into the captivating world of the Mafra Palace Library.

Table of Contents

A Royal Creation

The Mafra Palace Library was commissioned by King João V of Portugal in the 18th century. This stunning library was built to showcase the king’s wealth and signify his devotion to knowledge and culture.

Architectural Marvel

The library is renowned for its breathtaking Baroque architecture. Designed by German architect Johann Friedrich Ludwig, it features intricate carvings, ornate decorations, and beautiful frescoes that adorn the ceiling.

Vast Collection

The library houses over 40,000 books, including rare manuscripts, ancient texts, and valuable first editions. It covers a wide range of subjects, from theology and philosophy to history and literature.

Unique Bat Colony

One unusual feature of the Mafra Palace Library is its resident bat colony. These small creatures play an important role in preserving the books by keeping harmful insects at bay.

Lavish Decor

The library boasts lavish decor, with its shelves made of exotic woods and adorned with gold leaf accents. Elaborate chandeliers, velvet drapes, and intricate carpets contribute to the grandeur of the space.

Hidden Passages

Beneath the library, there are hidden passages known as “carceri”. These secret corridors were used by the royal family for private access to the library.

UNESCO World Heritage Site

In 2019, the Mafra Palace Library was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is recognized for its cultural significance and outstanding architectural beauty.

Magnificent Organ

The library is home to a magnificent organ, known as the “Mafra Organ.” Built by renowned organ builder Joaquim António Peres Fontanes, it is one of the largest organs in Europe.

Theoretical Division

The library is divided into two sections: the theoretical and the practical. The theoretical section contains books on philosophy, literature, and history, while the practical section houses books on sciences and applied arts.

Inspired Literary Works

The Mafra Palace Library has served as the backdrop for several literary works and movies. It has captured the imagination of authors and filmmakers, becoming a symbol of knowledge and inspiration.


In conclusion, the Mafra Palace Library is a truly remarkable and awe-inspiring landmark. Its history, architecture, and collection of books make it a must-visit destination for history and literature enthusiasts. From its grandeur to its unique characteristics, this library offers a glimpse into the rich cultural heritage of Portugal. Whether you are fascinated by Baroque architecture or eager to explore an extensive collection of books, the Mafra Palace Library will not disappoint. So, make sure to add this incredible landmark to your travel itinerary and prepare to be amazed by its beauty and significance.


1. How old is the Mafra Palace Library?

The Mafra Palace Library was built in the 18th century and completed in 1755.

2. How many books are there in the library?

The library houses approximately 36,000 books, including rare and valuable manuscripts.

3. Can visitors enter the library?

Unfortunately, visitors are not allowed to enter the library itself. However, they can admire its beauty and grandeur from the designated viewing area.

4. What is the architectural style of the library?

The library is built in the Baroque architectural style, known for its elaborate ornamentation and grandeur.

5. Are there any special events or exhibitions held in the library?

Yes, the library occasionally hosts special events and exhibitions, including book presentations and lectures. It is advisable to check the official website or inquire beforehand for any scheduled events during your visit.